Pirates Come Back Again
May 24, 2011Phoenix High School
May 21, 2011
PHOENIX 6, SOUTH UMPQUA 5
RECAP: Kyle Treadway belts a game-tying two-run single in the bottom of the seventh and Christian Adam supplies a walk-off double in the eighth to rally Phoenix for the Class 4A play-in victory.
UP NEXT: Class 4A state playoffs, beginning Wednesday, 4:30 against LaSalle.
TALENT - At this point of the season, all the Phoenix Pirates can do is shake their head and offer up a sly grin, knowing full well that their accomplishments have evolved more into pure theater than typical baseball fanfare.
With their backs to the wall for the umpteenth time this season, the Comeback Kids at Phoenix offered up more dramatics Friday night, salvaging their season in the process with an improbable 6-5, eight-inning win over South Umpqua in Class 4A play-in action at Hagler-James Field.
With a bid to the state playoffs on the line, the Pirates were down to their final two outs when senior Kyle Treadway turned around a 5-3 deficit with a clutch bases-loaded single that plated Andrew Reynoso and Christian Adam for the tying runs.
After Treadway pitched his second straight 1-2-3 inning, Phoenix capped its comeback in extra innings when Adam lofted a deep fly ball to the right field corner that fell just beyond the reach of a diving Austin Marsh to score Reynoso from second and send the Pirate faithful into a frenzy.
"We've been doing it all year; it's amazing that the boys have done this," said Phoenix head coach Hank Munn. "I think this is at least eight comebacks in our last at-bat this year. It's hard to believe, but they don't give up. I can't say enough for these boys, the leadership of our seniors and the heart they all have."
Such unwavering belief helped lead Phoenix to the Skyline Conference championship this season, and now has the Pirates (17-8) among a group of 16 teams that will open the state playoffs on Wednesday. Matchups will be determined by the state's power ranking system. With Phoenix's win, and the play-in success of Skyline counterparts Henley, North Valley and Klamath Union, the Pirates were able to vault from 13th to No. 9 in the power rankings as of Friday night.
Friday's comeback allowed Phoenix to secure its eighth one-run victory this season and 11th in games decided by two runs or less.
"I noticed when checking out their schedule that they'd won a lot of one-run games and they did it again today," said South Umpqua head coach Ryan Savage. "A good team's going to win close games and they did it when it mattered the most."
The visiting Lancers (13-12) placed sixth in the Far West League but held a No. 14 power ranking entering Friday. In fact, all six FWL teams were ranked among the top 14 before four were eliminated in play-in games against Skyline opponents. Only North Bend and Douglas/Camas Valley, the league's No. 3 and 4 teams that had play-in games outside the Skyline Conference, advanced to the state playoffs.
Things looked promising for South Umpqua after three runs in the sixth inning helped build a 5-2 lead, but the gritty Lancers just couldn't seal the deal against the unflinching Pirates.
"Deep down inside you've always got to know that you've got to get that last out before you can be happy," said Savage, "but I was excited a little bit knowing we had a shot of knocking these guys off, especially since they were the Skyline Conference champions and all."
Reynoso drew a leadoff walk in the seventh - Phoenix had its leadoff batter reach base in all but one inning - and moved to second on a one-out single up the middle by Adam. Once Kameron Kaufman singled to left field to load the bases, the Pirate fans were giddy with anticipation as cleanup hitter Treadway strolled up to the plate. On a 2-1 pitch from Marsh, Treadway laced a shot to right field for his fourth hit in as many at-bats.
"It was the situation I wanted: senior year and last game of the season," said Treadway. "If you've got the chance to do it, do it. I'm not afraid of a situation like that. Being in there where the bases are loaded like that or closing the game out (on the mound), that's what I like to do. I enjoy those moments."
Savage replaced Marsh with Josh Kennedy after Treadway's single and opted for an intentional walk of Albert Reynoso to load the bases and set up a double-play opportunity with only one out gone. The Pirates then got mixed up when Tim Keith didn't pick up the bunt signal for a suicide squeeze and let Kennedy's first pitch sail unmolested to catcher Tyler Blansett, who quickly got Kaufman in a pickle down the third-base line for the inning's second out.
"That's how we've played it all year and I'm not going to change it," Munn said of calling for a bunt in that situation. "I try to play an ultra-aggressive game of baseball and put the pressure on them."
Kennedy then struck out Joey Keith on three pitches to send the game into the eighth, but Treadway squashed the Lancers' bid in that frame by fielding a comebacker and working with shortstop Justin Bohn for an inning-ending double play.
Nolan Scott drew a five-pitch walk to open the bottom of the eighth for Phoenix, but was erased at second on a successful fielder's choice effort following a bunt by Andrew Reynoso. Undaunted, Bohn slapped a single to left field to put runners at first and second, and Adam played the final role of hero on a 2-1 outside fastball by Kennedy.
No one had a better view of the fateful final hit than Adam, who watched intently as Marsh raced to the right corner for the ball.
"My heart stopped because one time a kid at Hidden Valley actually dove and caught the ball on me like that," said the senior second baseman. "When I was watching it drop, I was praying that he wouldn't catch it. It was a great feeling when he didn't and I'm just glad we're going on to the next game."
The funny thing, Treadway said later, was that Adam was asking if he should switch bats before heading out to the on-deck circle in the eighth. Since he'd gotten a hit in his last at-bat, Treadway and company assured him that changing anything at that point would be the wrong move.
"I'm glad he didn't switch bats, that's for sure," said Treadway.
"We've had three interesting years together and it couldn't happen to a better kid," Munn added of Adam being the one to put his team over the top. "It's been a heck of a lot of fun his senior year and I'm very proud of him."
Bohn pitched the first 52/3 innings, striking out eight to combat four walks, one hit batter and eight hits allowed. Treadway and Tim Keith drove in the first two runs for Phoenix, with Kaufman scoring in the sixth thanks to a pair of Lancer errors.
South Umpqua 010 013 00 - 5 9 2
Phoenix 100 101 21 - 6 9 3
Marsh, Kennedy (7) and Blansett; Bohn, Treadway (6) and Kaufman. W - Treadway. L - Kennedy. 2B - P: Adam.